Tito Vilanova / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Tito Vilanova gave short shrift to criticism of his keeper Víctor Valdés after Thursday’s game against Real Madrid when his mistake led to Di Maria’s goal: “I’m surprised that at this point in his career anybody could question him. The Club has 4 Champions League and he has been decisive in 3 of them. He is the best keeper in the world and the best keeper for Barça by a mile”. He also revealed that the pressure wouldn’t affect Valdes himself: “he’s very strong mentally”.

Osasuna – a dangerous opponent

Barça face their first trip of the season on Sunday, when they travel to Pamplona to face Osasuna at the Reyno de Navarra Stadium. It’s always a tough place to visit and Barça themselves were beaten 3-2 last season, a result that really shook their title challenge. Vilanova warned his players: “this is always a complicated place to go and win, with the atmosphere the crowd create and the also the way Mendilibar sets his teams out -they are brave and they go out and chase you down high up the pitch. Their players are well suited to that style of play and there are always a lot of corners and free kicks that they know how to take advantage of that”.

The coach also insisted that Wednesday’s Super Cup second leg has been put on the back burner: “the best way to go into the game after next is when you have won the first one up”.

Song in squad

Alex Song has his first call up for the Pamplona trip and Tito explained: “he’s only had a few days training with us, but we have had time to show him a number of moves, whether he plays at centre half or in the middle. He’s been good in training – he comes from a club which trains in the same way that we do and try and hold onto the ball”.

Finally, Vilanova made it clear that there was no specific reason for leaving out Fontàs, Dos Santos and Afellay and explained that although they might be on their way out of the Club before the transfer window closes on Friday: “there is still a chance that all three will stay”.

Confidence in Tello

Vilanova denied reports that the Club might be considering a loan out for Cristian Tello: “Tello has never been on any list of players we wanted to move on. It was clear to us that he’d be staying with the first team. He is a player with some special characteristics, he’s young and he has to improve, but he has the ability to open up the pitch and to take a man on. There are very few players at that level”.